Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Turn off tune out

Last night I spent the guts of an hour searching for 70s/80s tennis/skater socks - a la Eleven in Stranger Things. I oohed and ached over the stripes - yellow and blue? Green and Purple?

I had a fantasy of wearing said socks all summer. My hair in plaits. No make-up. Old Baseball Ts with hot rock holes in them. Scuffed Converse. People in my Daily Mail entrenched town pointing at the crazy lady who looks like she's stepped off the film Carrie. These days I feel like the Crazy lady. I've always had a plan - plans are what get me up, keep me motivated and stepping one foot in front of the other. Now, with no plan, there is a huge gaping void. One I can't fill. Even with the brightest whitest skater socks.

When I was a kid I used to dream of stepping off the planet. Lifting up up into space - staring down at the whole melee below and just feeling removed from it all. A sense of floating, weightless. Still. Now I feel the same about all the social media white noise that invades my life. That I willingly open myself to - all the peacocking and humble brags, the fawning, the unmovable opinions, the bandwagons, the self aggrandising the shallowness of it all.

A few weeks back, standing waiting for a gym class to start, I noticed that everyone in the queue was staring at their phones. No one was chatting. No one asking if the class was good, was the class before running late, what they were up to on this cold Sunday... No words at all. Everyone glued to their glowing little screens, avoiding eye contact with everyone else.  I watched and felt an innate sadness at who we have all become. No one talks any more. No one calls. It's all quick fired texts or snippy Whats App messages where everyone reads the tone incorrectly and you come across as angry when in fact you are far from it. There's an app called Moment that tracks how long you spend on your phone. Try it, you'll be surprised. Black Mirror doesn't seem all that bizarre any more, it feels like the norm.

What did we do before we whiled away the hours on social media? Ironically there being absolutely nothing social about it at all. I used to read more books. Phone people on their landline and catch up on their lives. Go out more. Be in the moment.

So, I'm going to stop using my mobile phone for a bit. My mate Wills was the last of my buddies to get one and I always wondered why he abstained for so long. Now I realise exactly why. It's time for me to go back to the days of landlines and ten p coins for emergency phone calls. I'm going to step away from all the white noise. If that makes me harder to contact, so be it. At least I will hear a voice, see those I love in the flesh, rather than a political 'like' on Facebook or a courtesy text which has always been the poor relation to an actual full chat. Remember one of those? Filed under things we no longer have time for.

In keeping with my retro plans, I am opting for the green and yellow socks. Plaits optional.

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